San Antonio immigrants choose between protest and paycheck

A Day Without Immigrants

SAN ANTONIO - It's a national boycott and San Antonio is a part of it.

Many local immigrants and their families supported the "day without an immigrant" protest by staying home.

"We're sacrificing a day of labor, which could mean food on the table. Also, they're risking their jobs," said Irasema Cavazos of Domesticas Unidas.

On Wednesday, 200 housekeepers and nannies with Domesticas Unidas were asked to not go to work on February 16 in support of the boycott.

Bella's Mexican Restaurant on the east side also decided they would show the public, firsthand, what life would be like without immigrants. The restaurant is owned by two Mexican immigrant women.

“It's going to be a loss, but we don't care,” co-owner Irma Acuna said. “Maybe we're going to win more by doing this.”

The boycott goes beyond going to work. It also called for immigrant parents not to send their kids to school and not spend any money. That meant no gassing up, shopping, or dining out.

Local school districts reported normal attendance on Thursday. On the near north side, KENS 5 spotted shopping centers unusually empty.

La Mina Cafe, a Honduran restaurant, and La Concha Bakery inside a shopping center off Blanco Road between Mariposa and Thorain closed for the day and placed signs in the doorway reading "Esteemed customers, [February 16] we will be closed to support a 'Day Without Immigrants.'

Manuel Lopez owns Gene's Cleaners next door.

"[The protest] could impact me pretty much for the fact that people are not coming out for that reason," he said. "[Business] has come down so much with all this happening. As you can see now, it's not as 'happening' no more."

By boycotting the economy for just 24 hours, these businesses want to prove to the public and Donald Trump that they have value.

Supervisors inside La Michoacana Meat Market off Blanco and Basse said that all 20 employees did not show up for work on Thursday.

But other businesses couldn't afford to close.

"It's a livelihood. This is how we pay our bills and eat," said Noe Pineda, manager of La Luz Tortilla Factory.

La Luz makes flour tortillas and distributes them to over 50 clients in San Antonio, not counting walk-ins. They're open six days a week.

"We couldn't afford to close or affect our clients in that way, having them desperately looking for another product," Pineda said.

The same goes for multiple small businesses down Blanco Road.

A day without work is a day without pay.

"With more people believing and actually doing something as one voice, I think that's very important," Pineda said.

(© 2017 KENS)


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